Traveler Beware: Your Credit Card May Not Work Abroad

June 8, 2011  |  

(Bankrate) — In addition to the weak dollar and rising airfare, travelers headed overseas this summer have yet another headache to contend with: the possibility that their credit card might not work, especially at unattended kiosks in train stations or tollbooths. That’s because the United States is one of the few countries that has not adopted the chip and PIN credit card system in place of magnetized strips.  The U.S. pay infrastructure is set up so after you swipe your credit card, “the terminal instantly contacts the bank’s servers and asks for authorization,” says Philippe Benitez, a vice president of secure transactions for Gemalto, a digital security firm that also provides chip-based cards. “This mechanism has worked well for the U.S., and they’ve been able to keep fraud at an acceptable level for banks.”
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